Monday, 20 February 2012


A bold statement but just recently I have been having the most success for numbers and size of wrasse by fishing for them in and over some serious boulder grounds. One look at the photos below and you would think its mad to fish such hostile tackle grabbing terrain but its where the wrasse are to be found and tackle losses are so low its crazy, providing you keep it all simple and use a texas rig.

Some of these boulders are the size of small cars and believe me, when you hook a proper big old wrasse in amoungst ground like this you are in for a hell of a scrap!!!!!!

A quick look around the rocks and in the rock pools and you can see why wrasse love this area. Gobies and small blennies were darting in the pools and under the small rocks were plenty of crabs and small squatt lobsters. On the rocks were limpets everywhere so there was certainly a right old feast for the wrasse to munch on when the tide floods the area. By using this information as to what the wrasse would be feeding on I decided to match the hatch and rigged a Jacks Hawg Crazy Craw texas style and flicked it between a couple of large boulders. As it sunk to the bottom I felt a tap as a curious wrasse decided to have closer inspection using its teeth. Struck but to no avail, at least I knew the wrasse were around and hungry. I flicked it back to the same hole and this time let the wrasse have abit more time, strike and fish on. I dont know who was bullying who but I managed to slide the net under a lovely conditioned 3lb fish.

As I was netting the fish I had noticed that the disturbance had brought another couple of fish following the hooked one so I cast back to the same area and a couple of twitches later got hit by a train. No stopping this one in such close quaters as it did me on the barnacles!! A very brief battle that had my 20lb fluorocarbon leader torn to shreds. I tied on a new leader and made afew more casts in and around where I had lost the brute but only small fish sadly.

A move back up inside the bay was needed as I felt sure that the wrasse would be moving inside with the flood. A couple of casts and my thoughts were correct as wrasse after wrasse were hitting the lures often on the drop as the lures were beeing twitched over and down the boulders.

The Jacks Hawg Crazy Craws were certainly proving a great success so I decided to try afew other lures in different colours to see if there was a favourite colour again. Had a couple of wrasse to brown senkos, a few others to purple patterns but by far the most deadly being watermellon green. The Jacks Hawg Wild Stickbait outfishing any other lure today. This wrasse was the best out the boulder field today with it going to 4.2lbs.

A slightly smaller wrasse but stunning green in colour, that went 3.3lbs.

Despite being struck down with the dreaded man flu for the last couple of days (fishing and fresh air always makes me feel better) I had managed to get out for 2 hours and had 30 wrasse to 4.2lbs so not a bad effort considering. As I was packing up I noticed a splash in the shallow water behind me and saw a wrasse's tail out of the water as it was trying to get something out from the weed. As the rod was still together and had the lure attached I quickly cast over it and twitched the lure frantically back to resemble what ever the wrasse had cornered. BANG the wrasse nailed it!!!! The water was being thrashed so much that it was more like foam considering it was barely a foot deep as the wrasse tried to get back into deeper water, mental stuff!!!! As the wrasse tired I slipped the net under her, not a massive fish but the biggest of the day taken in the shallowest water!!!!

At 4.10lbs it fought like a much bigger fish  but it just goes to show you dont need deep water to catch plenty of wrasse, you just need the right ground. Next time you walk past a bouldery stretch, have a couple of casts into it, you might be surprised!!!!!

Monday, 13 February 2012


Sundays day off found me jumping on one of  the Bryher Boats jet boats to make the short journey to the island of Bryher to test the wrasse potential. If you were designing the perfect place for wrasse, it has allready been done!! Possibly the most outrageously ideal habitat is to be found on Bryher and none more so than Hell Bay.

Above is a shot of Hell Bay, as you can see there are boulders EVERYWHERE not to mention deep holes EVERYWHERE and shallow kelpy gullies EVERYWHERE, rocky points with sandy patches that just scream wrasse. PERFECT wrasse ground hey !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

It took all of ten minutes to walk from church quay, I was rather keen to get out there and found myself running down the hills like an excited child!!!!!

I decided as the tides werent perfect(ebbing tide) that I would fish the shallow marks first and work north with the reteating tide finding abit more depth the closer I got towards Shipman Head at the top of the map as the day went by. I had arranged to meet Neil at Shipman Head where we would try for a pollack as the tide turned meaning an hour fishing before I would have to head back for my ride home.

I had just recieved another fantastic parcel of goodies from Andy at Jackslrf and was very eager to try them out.

Above are the Jacks Own 3.5'' Tube, in both orange/brown and green, the Yoshikawa 4.25'' Superworm in watermellon and the Jacks baby crawfish patterns again in green, they all look fantastic and in my favourite wrasse colours I was sure would they would nail the fish. I also brought along if bites were hard to come by the Jacks Baby Hog.

With their many tenticles even the most curious wrasse would be hard not to have a munch at one of these bad boys. Minimal movement would get these lures going and get nailed!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

As usual I rigged them up texas style to a 1/0 Worm hook, followed by a 7g cone lead. Distance casting is not a major concern as you will find the wrasse anywhere and everywhere, even just under your feet. I cast out towards a submerged boulder the size of a transit van and bang, fish on!! Had to battle and give her plenty of stick to stop her going to ground the wrasse was safely netted, weighed and returned. A good start with her going 3lbs.

This continued, I had certainly found a good sport, an hour and 18 fish later a move was needed due to the gulley virtually having no water in it!. I wanted to cover as much ground as possible, so a yomp back up the rocks and a move 200 yards north to a huge beautiful rocky gulley. Got to be fish here I thought..........

The tide was rapidly ebbing by now but there was still a good 15 to 20ft in the gulley so it should hold a good head of wrasse. I couldnt believe just how many fish were there, wrasse after wrasse came out, to each and every lure I chucked at them. I had wrasse follow the lures to the surface and watched in amazement as one wrasse was adamant his lunch wasnt going to escape him and literally surfed a wave at my feet to grab the hog. It was so shallow when it hit the lure that it could only have been in 5 inches of water, one greedy wrasse of 3.10lbs!!!

I had another 36 fish out of the gulley before time to move again to meet up with Neil. As I strolled along the coast path I couldnt resist having a couple of casts in a real boulder field, it looked soooooo wrassey and bang, it certainly was.....

This fish fought like a demon, but nothing compared to what I hooked the following cast. You know instantly when you hook a brute as it gives no ''tap tap'' just BANG hits you so hard that it shakes you!! Well that is what happened, this was certainly a much much bigger fish and felt as if I was attached to a rottweiller tearing left then right left again heading to all the snags it could. I managed to get it to the surface, it was easy 6lb plus, when disaster struck. The swell had picked up with the water levels dropping when a wave picked up the fish as I was trying to net it, grating the braid on the barnacles and ping- GUTTED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I had a couple more casts in the vague hope of connecting with it again but to no avail so it was time to meet up with Neil for our sortie to Shipman Head. The pollack usually are plentiful from the end of the Head congregating here at low water before following the flood tide down into Tresco Channel. I switched to 9'' Jacks Nojo Serpent in a black colour while Neil rigged up a Slug-go on a 14g lead head. The tide was just starting to push so out went the lures, Neil got hit straight away on the drop and I got bumped, again OTD. Probably small pollack we both commented as I drew the net under his 3.5lb fish.

Sport wasnt exactly fast and furious with the bigger fish absent, just 8 pollack mostly all around the 2-3lb mark. I wasnt the only person to get busted up by a better fish as Neil was slowly reeling what he imagined was another small fish when all hell broke loose as it neared the base of the rock, diving into the thick kelp below us. Clearly a much better fish which again was lost, story of our day it seemed!!! I tried a couple of sneaky casts across the area in which it dived only to find even more wrasse....................................

This one tipping the scales at 4.6, a nice fish but not the chosen target!!! Sadly it was time to head back to the quay and the boat home. Looking back it was an awesome days fishing, over 60 wrasse and 8 pollack, in February! The day was topped off with 8 porpoises herding up a shoal of baitfish(is it really only feb??????)only 100 yards from us. Ok so we didnt manage to land the better fish but we will be heading back to Bryher and Hell Bay to do battle in round 2. Like the headline for this post said,

HELL BAY, MORE LIKE WRASSE HEAVEN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, 7 February 2012


Spent this weekend with my old mate Henry Gilbey over, great to catch up and fish with the old bugger again. Seems like an age since last time, but I have a feeling that he wont be leaving it long till his next visit!!!!!!!!!!! Cheers for letting me use the photos fella, as you will guess, all the photos in this post were taken by him!!


As always, we kept an eye on the forecast and had our fingures crossed that the light winds and sunshine would come true. Ha fat chance!!! The week leading up to our date with the monster wrasse lurking on Bryher was fantastic and then come saturday, yep you guessed it, wind had swung round west, freshened and chucked it down. Hellbay was living up to its name and completely unsafe and unfishable! A change of plan and a look back at my old angling diaries brought my attention to St.Martins. We fished it many years ago and had good catches of wrasse and the westerly winds would mean it would give us plenty of shelter. I had vague memories of the ground beeing suitable for wrasse and a look at google maps revielled lovely looking kelpy gullies, shallow bays, sandy patches and most importantly,BOULDERS! We would stand a good chance of bagging up over ground like this as recent success shows that you dont need deep water for wrasse. Obviously nothing beats getting out there and checking it out with your own eyes but Google Maps is an excellent way of sussing out new marks before you go.

So the plan was drawn up and suitably kitted out in waterproofs(Henry was fine, as he kept on reminding me that he was going to sit under his umbrella and take photos whilst muggings here faced the grim weather-GREAT) we made our way to St.Martins at high speed on Bryher Boats. The marks that we would be fishing typically here in the Isles of Scilly reguire a ten minute walk and so we were soon scrambling down to the waters edge. I rigged up a favourite of mine, a watermellon jackslrf stickbait texas style with a 7g cone weight. I know that with this lure on if there are any wrasse around they are usually straight on it. Despite the rain I knew that Henry wouldnt be able to hide behind that brolly of his for long as I had a wrasse on the second cast. We had found them!!!

Action was fast and furious, they werent the big fish that we were hoping for but such a blast on light gear. This is what fishing should be all about, having fun catching the fish that are out there on light sporting gear and having a smile on your face! It really was crazy as we lost count of the number of wrasse that we had, 60 to 70 easily I expect and the amount of times we would cast out and both hook up fighting and landing wrasse at the same time was nuts!

The biggest went 3.8lbs but today it seemed the bigger fish just didnt get a chance to attack the soft plastics, there was just too many small and medium sized fish nailing the lures first. Although somebody( not me) did have a proper wrasse on for a second or two before it went to ground, I blame his bad angling!!!!

I said for a laugh that I bet that I could get a fish from up inside the cave. A flick up inside and before I could even close the bail arm over when a wrasse bolted out and nailed the lure, mental!!


We didnt care by now about the rain as the wrasse were in such a crazy feeding mood that no matter what colour or size of lure that we cast to them they would just nail it straight away! We may never have fished this mark had it not been for the weather but it is one that we will fish again. There just has to be a belter or two around!!


Another day and yet another change in the weather-oh dont you just love the great British weather!!!!!!

This time though it was in our favour and would mean that we finally could go and fish the open coast of St.Marys and hopefully nail the wrasse in the same spots that I have been doing so well recently. The plan was to head to Porth hellick and fish the south side first then make our way up inside the bay following the fish with the flood before heading to Giants Castle at high water and lastly fish the start of the ebb back near where we started. This would give us the best chance of finding a better sized fish we hoped! Again I started with a green senko type stickbait from jackslrf, the water was abit lower than i would have liked but the fish should be here I thought as they wait for the tide to start flooding and ambush any small blennies gobies and shrimps that are washed out of the bay. Its a great spot to target the wrasse. Henry again was trying different coloured lures to me so that we could quickly determine what was THE colour for the day. He was royally smashed up by a good fish and after nearly falling off my rock laughing the same happened to me- that will teach me!! It was clear that there were some good fish around. I got abit too excited when I watched a beautiful greeny coloured 5lb fish follow my lure without taking it and then graze on the seaweed not 10 foot from my perch. Iam sure that it was just doing it to wind me up as I had the dreaded wind knot which put me out of action for a few minutes, long enough for Henry to nail a lovely 5lb fish which I graceously netted for him. I didnt have to wait long and I too was in. The wrasse were on the feed and again it was green being THE colour.

We managed to find the better sized fish with 3 5lb fish in consecutive casts-awesome fun!!!!!!!!! The last one being we are sure, the stunning green one that followed my lure earlier in the day!!!!

By now though we had to retreat back up inside the bay due to not really wanting to get cut off and fish the opposite side of the bay. Again the wrasse were nailing the lures with green and brown hogs taking good fish. Even the purple colour that didnt get a take earlier in the day was producing fish. What the reason was for the sudden desire to start nailing the other colours I have no idea? We continued to catch fish before keeping to our plan and moving to under Giants Castle in the hope of finding a real lunker.

The move brought plenty more wrasse but sadly the lunkers evaded us, this time................................

What a fantastic weekend, we lost count as to the exact number of fish we ended up with but just to be out in February catching so many fish and having loads of fun with a good mate is what this hrf lark is all about. Give it ago, you will be amazed as to how much fun can be had with sporting tackle and the size of fish that are around makes it so worth it!!!

Until next time heres a couple more shots of that stunning insanely green 5lb wrasse............